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How do I make sure that my aspirations, and not my fears, are driving me towards my goals?

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I’m tired of letting possible consequences determine my actions. How do I make sure that my aspirations, and not my fears, are driving me towards my goals? 

Ask yourself, what am I moving away from? Is there something you’re scared of, something unpleasant, or some negative that you want to move away from? And ask yourself, what is it that you’re hoping to accomplish or gain? What is it that you want to move toward, the goal, the outcome you envision?

Sometimes you’ll find your heart and mind are at odds, and sometimes they’re in agreement. For instance, if we consider your heart as your desire, what you love, and want, and your mind as the master of reason, logic, and thoughts, we can understand that sometimes what you want is not aligned with what your mind reasons is right. “My heart really wants to eat the cake, but my mind is telling me I had too much sugar today, and I should skip dessert tonight.” I could be moving away from the negative: feeling lethargic, unhealthy, weight-gain from eating dessert, or I could be moving toward the positive: feeling healthy, energetic, and in-shape. Just avoiding the negative—weight gain or lethargy—could lead to unsustainable decisions such as drinking more coffee and dieting. Moving away from the negative does not guarantee moving toward the positive. Quite the opposite. It is like throwing a dart in the dark where if it lands anywhere else, you’re moving in that direction (pretty aimless, no?).

Choosing to move toward what you want means you specifically know what direction you’re headed, and thus you have a much better chance of getting there. The positive here is energetic and in-shape. Thus the actions I choose to achieve these goals may be getting more sleep, eating healthier foods (you found an easter egg!), working out more, balancing my calorie intake, spreading out my meals more during the day, eating small snacks, etc. Focusing on avoiding the negative can lead to non-sustainable, short-sighted, band-aid solutions than can do more harm than good.

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